Ottawa

Witness grilled on inconsistencies at Gee-Gees sexual assault trial

The second day of a sexual assault trial involving two former members of the University of Ottawa hockey team resumed Tuesday in Thunder Bay.

WARNING: This story includes graphic details some readers may find disturbing

David Foucher, left, and Guillaume Donovan, right, are each facing a charge of sexual assault after an incident in Thunder Bay in 2014. (Geegees.ca men's hockey roster)

The Crown's first witness in the sexual assault trial involving two former members of the University of Ottawa men's hockey team admitted to changing his version of events during cross-examination Tuesday.

Guillaume Donovan and David Foucher are facing sexual assault charges in connection with an incident at a hotel in Thunder Bay in 2014.

At the time, the University of Ottawa Gee-Gees were in Thunder Bay to play a game against the Lakehead University Thunderwolves.

The witness, a fellow teammate of the accused and Donovan's roommate during the trip, is also the person who invited the alleged victim to his hotel room during the night in question.

The victim's identity is protected by a publication ban that also prevents CBC from identifying the witness.

Statement to coach not correct: witness

In earlier testimony on Monday, the witness said he was on a bed in the hotel room with the woman when Donovan appeared next to him between the beds.

The witness said he then stopped what he was doing, headed toward the washroom to put on his underwear and turned to see the woman performing oral sex on Donovan.

The witness said he left the room on his own and there was no exchange of words between any of them at the time.

During Tuesday's cross-examination, Christian Deslauriers, the lawyer representing Donovan, raised the statement the witness made to the University of Ottawa's hockey coach Real Paiement shortly after the incident on the day after the team returned to Ottawa.

The witness said his statement to the coach at the time was "not actually 100 per cent correct."

When Deslauriers pressed on what was wrong in that statement, the witness said he told the coach there had been a conversation in the hotel room between Donovan, the woman and himself.

The witness said he should have said there was no such conversation.

'I was not kicked out'

Also during cross-examination Tuesday, Celina Saint-Francois, the lawyer representing Foucher, showed the witness a message he sent the woman in the moments after the alleged incident.

"Sorry I got kicked out by the vets because I'm a rook [rookie] I'm sorry," Saint-Francois said, reading the message in court.

The witness disputed the statement, telling the court "I was not kicked out" and that he'd left on his own.

Saint-Francois responded that it appeared he had lied to the woman at the time.

David Foucher, left, and Guillaume Donovan attended court in Thunder Bay. The former University of Ottawa Gee-Gees hockey players are each facing one charge of sexual assault from 2014. (Matthew Kupfer/CBC)

Stayed in contact

Court also heard during the cross-examination that the witness stayed in touch with the victim after he left Thunder Bay.

On Monday, the witness said they met through the Tinder dating app when the team arrived in the city.

On Tuesday, court also heard that he had invited the woman to come to the Gee-Gees hockey game and that they briefly met outside the rink before arranging a meeting at a bar that eventually led to a the woman returning to his hotel room.

The witness said the two exchanged at least 25 messages while he was in Thunder Bay as they got to know each other. 

Foucher's lawyer asked several questions to establish how long the two had remained in contact after the alleged incident, and what they spoke about.

The witness repeatedly said he did not recall exactly how often they communicated, but said when he called or texted her it was "to see how she was," and said they remained in contact for weeks after he left Thunder Bay.

Saint-Francois asked if the witness ever tried to "intimidate" the woman or discourage her from making a complaint. He said he did not recall.

Asked whether the two spoke about the alleged incident after he left Thunder Bay, he replied,"I don't believe so."

No drugs, only alcohol

Saint-Francois also asked the witness to recount the events of the night of the alleged incident, when the Gee-Gees were celebrating an overtime win against the Thunderwolves.

Saint-Francois asked whether the witness and the woman were separated between the time they met at a local bar and their arrival at the witness's hotel room. The witness testified he had not been with the woman when she went to the bathroom at the bar.

The witness said he did not see anyone tied to the alleged incident take drugs, and testified only alcohol was consumed that night. He said neither he nor the woman had difficulty talking or walking, even though they were both drunk.

The witness also said during cross-examination that he did not see Foucher in the hotel room in question. 

Donovan's lawyer Christian Deslauriers will continue cross-examination of the witness Wednesday morning.

Follow along with CBC's Matthew Kupfer who is tweeting live from Thunder Bay. 

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